Yesterday we woke up bright and early and headed to Central Moscow to see Russia’s most famous site – Red Square. On the way, we stopped off at the old KGB building, which now houses the FSB. Before entering Red Square, we paid our respects to the Unknown Soldier at the monument with a forever-burning flame. Along the way, we passed a giant statue of General Zhukov, the hero of the Great Patriotic War. Also standing outside of Red Square were actors dressed as Stalin and Lenin. It was funny.
Next, we headed into Red Square. The first you see as you enter the gates is the beautiful, classical architecture of the State History Museum. In front of the Kremlin wall lays the body Lenin in his mausoleum. Buried to the left and to the right of the mausoleum are the bodies of other Russian’s who, for better or for worse, have had significant impacts on the country – Stalin, Brezhnev, Sverdlov, etc. Across the square is the old “State Department Store,” which is now the classiest place for shopping in Russia. At the southern end of square is St Basil’s Cathedral (the church from Tetris!!!!!)
After we finished in Red Square, we headed to the Kremlin. The security check was crazy. When we finally got in, we were mesmerized by the sites. We saw the 40-ton Tsar Cannon, The Archangel Cathedral, The Hall of Facets, The Annunciation Cathedral, and the Great Kremlin Palace. I rented an audio guide in order to get a better understanding of all of the places.
We ate our packed sandwich lunch in front of a beautiful fountain in Alexandrovsky garden. We then dozed off on a bench for a while until Valery’s Mom joined us. Also joining us was her friend Olga. Val’s Mom took us on an interesting walk, explaining to us the background of a lot of interesting buildings and streets in the city. We ended our walk at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, where we met up with 5 more friends of Valery’s. 3 of them will soon be studying abroad in China, so I exchanged them some RMB for Rubles.
Next, all of us headed to the Russian exhibition center (USSR Economic Achievements Exhibition), built in the 1930’s, and then expanded upon in the 50’s and 60’s to highlight the success of the Soviet Economic System. We hopped on the giant Ferris wheel and got a great view of the park. We then head dinner at a nice restaurant. I talked for a while about living in China, and told the girls that will be studying there that they should contact me if they ever plan to visit Shanghai.